The Nine Dollar Laser Bed

A laser cutter bed has to be robust, fireproof, and capable of adequately supporting whatever piece of work is being done on the machine. For that reason they are typically a metal honeycomb, and can be surprisingly expensive. [David Tucker] has built a MultiBot CNC machine and is using it with a laser head, and his solution to the problem of a laser bed is to turn towards the kitchen ware store.

The answer lay in an Expert Grill Jerky Rack, a wire grille with a baking tray underneath it. Perfect lasering support but for its shininess, so it was painted matte back to reduce reflections and a handy set of clips were 3D printed to secure the grille to the tray.

We like this solution as it’s both effective and cheap, though we can’t help a little worry at the prospect of any laser cutter without adequate enclosure for safety. Having been involved in the unenviable task of cleaning an encrusted hackerspace laser cutter bed, we also like the idea that it could be disposed of and replaced without guilt. Do you have any tales of laser cutter bed cleaning, or have you found a cheap substitute of your own? Let us know in the comments!

14 thoughts on “The Nine Dollar Laser Bed

  1. “that it could be disposed of and replaced without guilt.”
    how is disposing and replacing this any different guilt-wise from any other solution? It’s still a bunch of steel coated in matt black paint. I’d also worry about the black paint flaking and leaving shiny spots for the laser to reflect off of and bounce around the room.

  2. A good idea, I think.
    But is it necessary to paint the grid? In the correct cutting conditions, the laser has a small residual power after passing the material. In addition, after any reflection, the beam will be defocused and will not be harmful.
    And on the other hand, the coating can leave the tracks on the bottom of the material.
    With similar semiconductor laser I use stainless steel sheet and I have no problem with marks by reflection about the pad.

  3. I soak my filthy honeycomb in a solution of warm water and laundry detergent (Persil) overnight. Then gently rinse and air dry. So far, no damage noted to honeycomb. Works well on carbide saw blades and router bits too (manually dry and lubricate after cleaning, though).

    1. In my case, an advantage of honeycomb or otherwise highly porous support is to enable better airflow for gases to be removed and for air assist to reduce recirculation of smoke around the operating parts of the machine. Without air handling, I think the tile bed sounds like a great idea.

    1. Those grills are cheap plastic, that can barely hold together under their own weight. Adding objects, and guaranteed cuts from the laser, and it would surely fall apart.

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